I've been dreaming about visiting the State Fair lately. And there is nothing more dangerous than all the crazy carnival-fair food. I always want to try everything, which makes everyone in my family a little crazy as I roam from booth to booth and line after line. I make sure I sample everything that's new.
One of my favorite fair indulgences is Funnel Cake, covered in maple syrup and powdered sugar, I'm always up for a few bites (or seven) of that delicious treat. Funnel Cake is actually what inspired me to make these onion rings, however I wanted to mix the savory with the sweet.
I used colossal sweet onions for their size and sweetness, buttermilk for its tang, cornbread mix for its texture and pancake batter for its incredible ability to fry up beautifully! Just look at the puffiness.
Now, a lot of you have expressed to me your fear of deep-frying. Don't be afraid. It's not like there is oil popping around everywhere.
Using a heavy pot with higher sides, like my little 4.5 quart Le Creuset Round French Oven, it's so simple. However, I will suggest getting a candy thermometer which just clips to the side of your pot. How else would you know when your oil is to temperature? It's a must!! And makes frying so easy.
I also made a spicy mayo dipping sauce using wasabi powder. It was the perfect flavor for these slightly sweet onion rings. Wasabi powder can be found in the spice aisle of your grocery store or check the Asian section and it's definitely available at Trader Joe's.
Buttermilk Pancake Batter Onion Rings with Wasabi-Garlic Mayo
For the onion rings:
- 2 colossal sweet onions, sliced into rings
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 box cornbread mix (same size to make 8 x 8 pan)
- 2 cups dry pancake mix (mixed with 2 cups water)
- frying oil
For the Wasabi-Garlic Mayo:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- As you slice your onion rings toss them into a large bowl with buttermilk and let them soak. Using a shaker (like one you would normally use for Parmesan cheese) sprinkle the cornbread mix onto each onion ring and then dip into the wet pancake batter. (If for whatever reason your pancake batter is to runny or too thick, you can always add more mix or more water to thicken or thin.) Place the onion rings on a tray, side by side until all rings have been battered.
- Preheat 2-inches of frying oil to 350 degrees F. Drop several onion rings in at a time, making sure they are not touching. Fry on one side until brown and then flip over with tongs. They take about a minute to cook.
- Place onion rings on a paper-towel lined tray until all onion rings have been fried.
- To make Wasabi-Garlic Mayo, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for an hour in the fridge, allowing flavors to meld.
- Serve onion rings immediately with dipping sauce.
We had some onion rings and mayo leftover, so we made BLT sandwiches with the extra rings and sauce. Holy cow...best sandwich ever. You must try it.
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